Potent Compound Corner

Who's got the monkey?

April 2, 2018

Back in the spring of 1986, I was in Kellyville, OK attending the Dowell-Schlumberger (DS) field engineers training school. I remember it quite well because I was there when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded and we also got to spin doughnuts with 18-wheel tractor units.

However, besides rooming with a bunch of Texans and picking up a Texan accent in a matter of weeks, one of the important things that I experienced in training school was how to manage roughnecks and how to delegate (BTW - roughnecks could come up with swear words that I couldn't even imagine).

One of our readings and discussions on delegating was about "Who's Got the Monkey?" This was based an article written in 1974 in the Harvard Business Review (HBR), but then republished in 1999. The gist of the article is how employees attempt to put the next move on the back of their managers, so when something gets held up or doesn't turn out right it's the manager’s fault and not theirs.

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Should you panic when the occupational exposure limits changes?

March 29, 2018

In the field of occupational toxicology for the pharmaceutical industry, it is quite common to see the numerical value for an occupational exposure limit (OEL) or OHC assignment change over the course of product development. New data, longer studies, and more human experience with the compound all have the potential to cause the OEL or OHC to change. In addition, once the product is on the market, there may be adverse events reported that were not observed in the clinical development of the product.

In most cases, as the data gets more comprehensive, the numerical OEL value goes higher in value and the exposure control band assignment goes down (i.e. from an exposure control band 3 to an exposure control band 2); however, while rare, occasionally the numerical OEL will decrease in value such that the OHC goes up (i.e. OHC from 2 to 3). In these cases it is often a challenging risk communication issue for the EHS professional because employees will be asking questions such as “Was I over-exposed?” or “Will I be harmed?” This is where it is important that an environmental, health and safety professional in the pharmaceutical industry have a strong understanding of the underlying concepts and assumptions behind occupational exposure limits. These concepts include the following:

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Ten ways to run a better conference call

December 28, 2017

If you’re an EHS professional for a multi-facility company, conference calls can be an unfortunate way of life. These calls are often frustrating and seem like a complete waste of precious time; however, there are certain things you can personally do to make them more productive. Here’s ten suggestions…

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Do I need a dedicated facility for my highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredient?

December 27, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive at Affygility Solutions is “Do I need a dedicated facility or equipment for my highly potent active pharmaceutical ingredient?” While this seems like a fairly simply question, the answer is actually quite complex; and, in order to answer this question, someone would need to know a lot more about your specific operation. So, let’s walk through the basic thought process on how we would answer this question.

Risk Assessment

One of the key concepts when making the determination for a dedicated facility, is the concept of risk assessment, and, the first question we would ask you is “What does your risk assessment process say?” As indicated in the EU Guidelines for Good Manufacturing Practice for Medicinal Products for Human and Veterinary Use - Part 1 Chapter 3: Premises and Equipment and shown in Image 1 below, Quality Risk Management principles must be used in making the determination whether a dedicated facility is required.

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Five Uncomfortable Things that will Make You a Better EHS Manager

November 28, 2017

As we near the end of 2017, it becomes that time of year where we start to think about how we can do better in 2018. From a professional standpoint, often these plans take the form of establishing goals and objectives for the year.

However, just as important as the goals and objectives are for the company, it is equally important that you establish a few personal (and private) goals that will make you a better (and happier) EHS Manager.

Based on over 31 years of professional experience, here are five things, that while they might make you feel uncomfortable, it will go a long way to making you a better, happier, and more effective manager.

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Your next potent compound safety gig might be at Amazon

November 27, 2017

Historically, the pharmaceutical space has been widely considered to be “Amazon-proof”—complex healthcare systems, high regulatory hurdles, stringent warehousing requirements, and a complicated billing system are all solid reasons for Amazon (AMZN) to not make the move into such a challenging industry vertical. However, a recent search for the query "Life Sciences" on the amazon.jobs site revealed over 1500 job openings. So clearly, Amazon does have interest in the healthcare and life sciences space.

Where Amazon could find leverage

Amazon is not a stranger to selling pharmaceuticals online. For instance, according to the Japan Times, in April of this year, Amazon announced same-day delivery service for both food and medicine. In addition, Amazon already sells beauty care, personal care products, vitamins, diet supplements, over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and some medical supplies online. Amazon could easily leverage the above experiences to ease the transition into the prescription pharmaceutical industry.

From a technology standpoint, Prime Now, Alexa Echo and Dot, Dash buttons, and their AI-driven recommendation system are additional leverage points where Amazon could reduce customer friction, lower costs, and increase revenue for the company. You can also expect, due to the large scale that they would be operating, that Amazon would use its innovation expertise to automate as much of the fulfillment process as possible.

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The Proper Use of Assigned Protection Factors and Maximum Use Concentrations

October 19, 2017

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard (29 CFR 1910.134), APFs and MUCs are used in the proper selection of respiratory protection equipment for non-IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) atmospheres.

Employers must select respirators using Table 1.0: Assigned Protection Factors. They also must consider MUC’s before respirator selection. Selection of respirators should be based on the actual airborne contaminant level found in the workplace. Determining the actual airborne contaminant level typically requires industrial hygiene monitoring.

In addition, for the APFs and MUCs to be properly applied, all respirators must be fit-tested and used in accordance with all local and federal regulations. The APF/MUC will not be accurate for employees that are not clean shaven, have hair that interferes with the fit of a tight-fitting respirator, have a poor fitting respirator, or an improperly selected cartridge. Employees wearing tight-fitting respirators with facial hair that interferes with the fit is a common deficiency found during potent compound safety gap assessments.

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What is an occupational exposure limit and why are they important?

October 11, 2017

Here at Affygility Solutions, we often get asked the question, “I’m being told that I need to find out the OELs for all my active pharmaceutical ingredients, but I don’t even know why I need them. Can you help?”

What is an Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL)?

So let me explain: Occupational exposure limits (OELs) are defined as the time-weighted average concentration of a contaminant, measured in the employee’s breathing zone, that is considered to be safe for the majority of healthy workers, for an eight-hour work shift and a forty-hour work week, and entire working lifetime.

OELs are health-based values that are established by expert toxicologists reviewing existing published, peer-reviewed literature, and scientific databases. In addition, for new chemical entities (NCEs), it may be necessary to review pre-clinical and clinical data to determine the OEL. Based on the currently available information, the expert toxicologists formulate a conclusion on the level of exposure that the average worker can experience without adverse health effects.

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Welcome to Potent Compound Corner

October 9, 2017

We're excited to announce and welcome you, readers, to the newest Affygility (virtual) publication: Potent Comound Corner.

We'll invigorate your mind, help keep you clued in to the latest EHS topics and ideas, and hopefully amuse you once in awhile.

Stay tuned to this space and you can expect to find…

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Affygility's Potent Compound Corner is a collection of musings, investigations and explorations of timely, relevant topics in the fields of toxicology, pharmacology, EHS and more.

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